News | 24 April 2020
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Virtual doors open a world of culture for the capital

Arts and events have been severely affected by the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, but many have adapted by virtually opening doors to old audiences – and new.

With venues, galleries, and museums closed during the lockdown, a whole new world has opened up for people to enjoy from their living room – and artists, performers and event organisers have found a captive audience with innovative, interesting and entertaining ways.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet are doing Live In Your Living Room shows, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is streaming online performances in the Play Our Part series, and Wellington City Council is supporting and funding creative and cultural activities in the capital too, says Arts, Events and Culture portfolio lead, Councillor Nicola Young.

“Arts is in the middle of adversity – literally and metaphorically.

“Everyone has had to adapt to the Alert Level 4 lockdown, and the arts and events communities are proving their creativity has no bounds – and will continue to perform and provide entertainment in the new realms of Level 3.

“The situation has also introduced older audiences to new technology, and younger people to arts that have traditionally been popular with more mature members of our society – and hopefully that will continue in the future.”

Museums and galleries are doing virtual tours and talks, there are Spotify lists of local music content, #LoveLocal campaigns, and platforms where everyone can share ideas, resources, responses, strategies and experiences as the creative community work together through Covid-19.

The Covid-19 lockdown put an end to live performances and cultural activities for the public, which has seen a huge impact on the creative community and its audiences – but there is support available for them, says Mayor Andy Foster.

“Arts and events have always been the beating heart of the capital – alongside the hospitality and tourism industries – and we’ve always been big supporters of that, and now is no different.

“As the nation’s capital emerges from Level 4, we are working closely with representatives of the Arts Sector and Hospitality Industry in particular on Recovery Planning, and creating a programme that will draw people back into our City to support business and the Arts.

“One of the key ways we are already supporting the latter, is through our grants and funding opportunities, which are available for a wide range of events, activities, and organisations.

“These are tough times for everyone, but help is just a heartbeat away.”

Wellington City Council funding, residency and exhibition opportunities include applications for the Arts & Culture fund, Toi Pōneke Gallery, and there’s an invite for Waituhi - Matariki public art project too, says City Arts and Events Manager, Natasha Petkovic-Jeremic.

“With venues closed, and audiences in lockdown our local artists have responded by creating new work, finding new ways to connect with us or preparing for the time when we can once again gather together and experience art in real life. Whether it’s music, dance, literature, theatre or visual art, there are so many online options to choose from during lockdown.”

Find out more in our arts and funding sections of the Wellington City Council website.

Accessing the arts from your living room:

  • Wellington City's Art Collection online gallery and Instagram has paintings, photography and sculpture from the 19th Century through to upcoming and established contemporary Wellington artists, and a couple of international surprises!
  • Wellington City Council video playlist of just some of the arts projects we’ve supported over the years
  • You can also check out the Wellington City Council Public Art Instagram for all the latest public art including Mason's Screen, Courtenay Place light boxes and more
    • Toi Pōneke Arts Centre Lockdown lunches – online lunchtime talks 1:15pm Mon 4th May – Fri 15th May

Public Galleries and Museums
City Gallery Wellington is the hub for art life in New Zealand’s capital, showcasing innovative artistic practice and writing. Check out the blog.

Victoria University of Wellington's Adam Art Gallery is a vital platform for critical thinking across media, disciplines, cultures and contexts.

Lower Hutt's Dowse Art Museum shows and collects contemporary art, New Zealand studio craft, design and jewellery. Check out their blog.

New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata presents the stories of New Zealanders through contemporary and historical portraiture.

Pātaka showcases contemporary Māori, Pacific, New Zealand and Asian arts in cultural heart of Porirua.

Te Papa Tongarewa. Aoteoaroa New Zealand's national museum and gallery has the country's most extensive collection - check out their Collections Online

Artist-Run Initiatives 
Enjoy has an extensive online archive, play-station has an open call for proposals and Meanwhile is open to expressions of interest.

Dealer Galleries 
Check out the on-line exhibitions and artworks available from Wellington's Robert HealdMcLeavey GalleryBartley+CompanyBowen GalleryMossmanJhana MillersPage GalleryHamish McKayPhotospace, VR at Potocki Paterson and Suite is showing an 'artwork of the day' in their street front window.

And here are 12 world-class museums you can visit virtually right now!